Drivers could face huge fines for breaking little-known hand gesture rule
What changes are being made to the Highway Code?
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Every motorist has lost their temper in one way or another while driving a vehicle on British roads. However, while road rages in the UK are not very common, drivers should remember that they could be slapped with a fine of up to £1000.
This is because the offence is classified as “disorderly conduct”.
The offence carries a criminal penalty under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
This means that any motorist caught making a “rude hand gesture” while driving could be faced with a fine of 75 percent of their weekly wage, capped at £1,000.
Rule 147 of the Highway Code states: “Do not allow yourself to become agitated or involved if someone is behaving badly on the road.
“This will only make a situation worse.
“Pull over, calm down and, when you feel relaxed, continue your journey.”
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “A small minority of drivers think that being sat in their car exempts them from an offence like this.
“However, this kind of anti-social behaviour can land you in hot water and take you on an expensive trip to the courts.
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“Road users have a duty of care to each other, so keeping your cool and remaining focused is important.
“Your hands should remain on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
“Rather than let the tailgater get under your skin, where safe to do so, it is better to let them pass so you can carry on your journey in a calm manner.”
In addition, drivers that let go of the steering wheel in order to make rude hand gestures could be fined for “not being in full control of a vehicle”.
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This in turn is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1991 and could result in motorists being fined another £1,000 and given three penalty points on their licence.
In 2018, a motorist in County Durham was hit with penalties for speeding, not wearing a seat belt, and not being in full control of his van after he made an offensive hand gesture at a stationary traffic officer with a speed gun.
Drivers have also been urged not to use their horn needlessly.
The Highway Code states that the horn should only be used “while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence”.
It can never be used to let anger out at other motorists.
Motorists who fail to adhere to this rule could be fined £30.
Graham Conway, general manager of Select Car Leasing, commented: “We would always encourage anyone to try to remain as calm as possible behind the wheel and observe the laws of the road.
“With the highways and byways getting busier and busier there’s many examples of situations that can cause stress and even anger.
“While it can be hard on occasion to not react to situations such as being cut up in traffic or someone not indicating, the best course of action is always to take a deep breath and carry on as normal.
“If you do find your blood pressure rising while you are driving, think about pulling over and taking a few minutes to calm down before resuming your journey.”
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